Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jack Litman - One of a Kind - 1943-2010

  Jack Litman, a former and long-time member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Jack_dinner[1] (NACDL) board of directors and a past president of the NYSACDL passed away Saturday. Ted Simon, Secretary of NACDL and dear friend of Jack, described him as "an incomparable lawyer, father, and friend." As a member of the law firm of Litman, Asche & Gioiella, LLP, he handled major felony cases in New York, like the defense of Robert E. Chambers Jr.  He also represented individuals charged with  white collar related crimes.  Past NACDL President Barry Scheck, described him as a man with a Jack alone MG_0530[1]

"first rate intellect, a love of art, history, and all things Fench. But perhaps most impressive of all, sometimes with gestures of kindness and loyalty unknown to many, he delivered when it counted for his friends, his clients, and the cause of liberty.  Jack never buckled trying one of the most notorious murder cases in the history of New York City."

Jack was special to so many.  For me he was the extraordinary lawyer with whom I could discuss arcane legal issues, talk about the art museum in Vegas or just talk about life.  He was a crucial part of my NACDL family.   He was one of the nicest most caring individuals one could come across in life.  He will be missed, and my tears are for him. He was one of a kind. 

(esp) With a special thank you to his dear friend, Ted Simon, for the photographs. See also Anemona Hartocollis, NYTimes, Jack T. Litman, Lawyer for ‘Preppy Killer’ and Others, Is Dead at 66; Talkleft here; Professor Ellen Yaroshefsky reminded me of the Ethics in America, Vol. 2: To Defend a Killer program that includes Jack Litman, Justice Scalia and others as panelists.

January 23, 2010 in About This Blog, Defense Counsel, News | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 - What Will We See

What's Coming this 2010?

The New Year delivers a variety of interesting cases and issues in the white collar crime field, and many unresolved issues from last year. What can we expect to see (in no particular order):   

  • A decision regarding the status of "honest services" in the fraud statutes
  • The aftermath of a decision on "honest services" may bring cases using habeas corpus and coram nobis (assuming the Court alters the government's use/misuse of this statute) - and some perhaps new sentences/non-sentences for individuals like Conrad Black, Jeff Skilling, George Ryan, Bruce Weyhrauch, and others - but a realization that all DOJ cases will not crumble (see here)
  • The government finally thinking twice about using section 1346 - honest services and proceeding instead with classic bribery/extortion/gratuities charges
  • Seeing whether the SEC is capable of redesigning itself to provide greater ability to detect Ponzi schemes
  • More TARP related indictments
  • More financial fraud indictments
  • More defense procurement scrutiny
  • UBS related cases
  • An initial ruling on the use of a wiretap in the Rajaratnam case
  • Scrutiny of discovery violations by the past DOJ in the aftermath of cases like Stevens (see also here)  
  • Many new U.S. Attorneys
  • Some deferred prosecution agreements reaching the termination points of living with government scrutiny

(esp)

January 2, 2010 in About This Blog, News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009 White Collar Crime Awards

2009 White Collar Crime Awards

Each year this blog has honored individuals and organizations for their work in the white collar crime arena by bestowing "The Collar" on those who deserve praise, scorn, acknowledgment, blessing, curse, or whatever else might be appropriate. I welcome comments from readers who would like to suggest additional categories or winners (or losers?).

With the appropriate fanfare, and without further ado,

The Collars for 2009:

The Collar for Causing the Most Dominoes to Fall - To Bernie Madoff for causing more Ponzi schemes to come to light

The Collar for Missing the Boat -To the past SEC that failed to notice Madoff and other schemes

The Collar for Best U-Turn - To the new DOJ for dismissing Ben Kuehne's case and exposing discovery violations, like seen in the Stevens case

The Collar for the Most Needing a Hearing Aid - For whoever decided to use a wiretap for alleged securities violations in the Rajaratnam case

The Collar for the Latest Fashion - To the DOJ for changing the name of the corporate crime task force to, what else - the financial fraud task force

The Collar for the Hottest Freezer - To William Jefferson, convicted after a search found cash in his freezer

The Collar for Adhering to Terry MacCarthy's Rule of Threes - To the Supreme Court for accepting three mail fraud cases, all pertaining to the honest services statute's 28 words

The Collar for Least Likely to Survive -  A backdating prosecution 

The Collar for Most in Need of a Geography Lesson- Tied - 1) To the prosecutors who brought the eventually dismissed Lori Drew case in California when all the alleged cyberbullying had occurred in "nearby" Missouri; 2) And the prosecutors who brought Wesley Snipes case in Florida where he went to high school

The Collar for the Most Likely to Have its Theme Song "I Won't Back Down" - W.R. Grace

The Collar for the Best Avis - To Rod Blagojevich, for trying to be the most recognized name with a white collar charge - he'll have to try harder to beat Bernie Madoff

The Collar for US News WannaBe- To the ABA for its method of selecting best blogs

The Collar for Least Likely to be Teaching Professional Responsibility at a Law School- Marc Dreier

The Collar for Least Likely to Appear Together in "Dancing With the Stars" - AG Eric Holder and former AG Alberto Gonzalez

The Collar for Least Likely to Appear on the T.V. Show "I've Got a Secret" - UBS

The Collar for the Best Parent - retired years ago and renamed the Bill Olis Best Parent Award - unawarded this year since no one comes even close to Bill Olis.

(esp)

December 27, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wishing Everyone A Happy Holiday

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, and peaceful holiday.

(esp)

December 24, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Top Criminal Law Blogs

Attorney.org lists their top criminal law blogs here

(esp)

November 29, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Post-Booker Sentencing Provides Greater Equity

Amir Efrati, WSJ, Looser Rules on Sentencing Stir Concerns About Equity - speaks about recent sentencing of white collar offenders.  My response -

Supreme Court decisions clearly allow for more judicial discretion in white collar sentencing -  but is this a negative?  Hardly not.  It provides judges with the opportunity to examine the defendant on an individual basis as opposed to being strictly focused on a mathematical computation of loss.  In some cases the sentence may be higher than the guidelines, and in other cases it may be lower. It is easy to say that this creates disparity - but the real question is whether the disparity was there and this now corrects that disparity.

It is important to recognize that some of these white collar sentences are above the guidelines.  Further many double-digit white collar sentences are now being handed down (see, e,g, here, here and what about Ebbers, Skilling, MacFarland, and others), and there are even triple digits now seen on occasion.  One would be hard-pressed to find the number of double-digit sentences we are presently seeing in white collar cases, in the pre-guideline years. Further, it is clear that the "culture" of the guidelines is respected by most judges and that the government has an appellate process when they believe that the sentence is unreasonable.

But what is also clear is that the guidelines are not the end of the sentencing process.  Supreme Court decisions now allow neutral judges necessary discretion to sentence the specific individual before her or him.  One important improvement coming from these Supreme Court decisions is that it levels the playing field between the prosecution and defense.  The prosecution has had the sole ability to reduce a sentence by filing a 5K1.1 motion - a disparity that often went unnoticed.  The new Supreme Court decisions allow the defense to also now be heard.

So what's my opinion? Looser rules should not be "stir[ring] concerns about equity."  Rather, looser rules are now allowing us to achieve greater equity by giving judges the ability to account for circumstances that are beyond an efficiency based arithmetic exercise.  

(esp)(blogging from Portland, Oregon)

November 6, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Blog - Five Years Old

Today the White Collar Crime Prof Blog Turns Five (5) Years Old and I would like to thank all the readers out there who have clicked this way.

As you may imagine, blogging takes an enormous amount of time - and some days it can be difficult to find the minutes to post what needs to be said.  So thanks for sticking with me during the last five years and I hope you will continue to stop by. Please continue to send items this way.  If I didn't get to post it -  I am sorry - but I can only do so much. I assure you that it is always appreciated.

The best to everyone out there -

(esp)  

October 31, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CrimProf Back

Just wanted to welcome back the crimprof blog here and wish the new editors the very best in blogosphere. 

(esp)

August 18, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

White Collar Crime Blog Again Makes Top 20

The rankings are out and this blog was ranked 18th for visitors and 18th for page views on the 2009 Law Prof Blog Traffic Rankings.  The rankings process and time period covered are described on Paul Caron's Tax Prof Blog here

Your readership is appreciated, so thank you for clicking this way.

(esp) (blogging from The Hague, Netherlands)

July 16, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Thanks

Thanks to all who have served our country.

(esp) 

May 24, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

White Collar Crime Blog Makes Top 20

The rankings are out and this blog was ranked 18th for visitors (was 16th last year), but moved up from 18th into 16th place for page views on the 2008 Law Prof Blog Traffic Rankings (see here for a discussion of this importance of page views).  The rankings process and time period covered are described on Paul Caron's Tax Prof Blog here 

Your readership is appreciated, so thank you for clicking this way.

(esp)

January 25, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 - What Will We See

What's Coming in 2009

The New Year delivers a variety of interesting cases and issues in the white collar crime field, and many unresolved issues from last year. What can we expect to see (in no particular order):   

  • confirmation hearing on Eric Holder
  • a new Attorney General with new policies and procedures
  • Madoff - investigation, prosecution (perhaps a plea), sentencing?
  • Blagojevich - will he be indicted and will it hold up?
  • Jeff Skilling - a judicial opinion
  • a re-evaluation of the merits of corporate criminal liability
  • an SEC with increased regulatory power
  • fraud as a new criminal law emphasis
  • more judges sentencing outside the confines of the sentencing guidelines

Obviously, there will be plenty more.  But I am confident that white collar crime will have a key focus in the upcoming year.  So stay tuned to this blog.  Your readership is appreciated and I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year.

(esp)

January 1, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 White Collar Crime Awards

2008 White Collar Crime Awards

Each year this blog has honored individuals and organizations for their work in the white collar crime arena by bestowing "The Collar" on those who deserve praise, scorn, acknowledgment, blessing, curse, or whatever else might be appropriate. I welcome comments from readers who would like to suggest additional categories or winners (or losers?).

With the appropriate fanfare, and without further ado,

The Collars for 2008:

The Collar for Best Supporting Actor - to the attorneys who represented actor Wesley Snipes, who was found not guilty of fraud and conspiracy and guilty of three misdemeanors

The Collar for Worst Stretching Exercise - to the prosecutors who charged Ben Kuehne with money laundering based upon his writing an opinion letter, a charge that was dismissed by the court

The Collar for Keeping the Biggest House of Cards Standing for the Longest Period of Time - Bernie Madoff is the leading contender

The Collar for Knowing When to Quit - to former plaintiffs tobacco litigation lawyer Dickie Scruggs who plead guilty to a single count

The Collar for the Best Autopsy on a Case - to former county coroner Cyril Wecht for his extensive post-trial arguments calling for no re-trial

The Collar for the Best Flip-Flop by a Former Prosecutor - to former Enron Task Force prosecutor Andrew Weissman, who argued for limits to corporate criminal liability in an amicus in the Second Circuit Ionia case

The Collar for the Most Efficient Decision - to Judge Posner, who wrote the opinion affirming Conrad Black's decision twenty days following oral argument

The Collar for the Most Bang for the Buck - Jack Abramoff, who in 2006, won The Collar for the Best Cooperating Witness, and in 2007 The Collar for the Best Skating Not on an Ice Rink (along with Andy Fastow)

The Collar for the Most Often Indicted Political Position - there is a recount on this one with Ted Stevens arguing that he can't be counted in the Senate category until after sentencing, Rod Blagojevich claiming that he should be able to be included in both the Senate and Governor category, and a text message received from former Detroit Mayor Kwane Kilpatrick asked whether we were including Puerto Rico's Governor in the count

The Collar for the Best Timing - a tie between DOJ for issuing new guidelines pertaining to principles of business prosecutions on the same day it lost the Stein case and Siemens for entering into a FCPA agreement prior to a change in administration

The Collar for the Best Parent - retired last year and renamed the Bill Olis Best Parent Award - unawarded this year since no one comes even close to Bill Olis

The Collar for Needing to Be Told "No" Twice - to the prosecutors who appealed Judge Lewis Kaplan's decision in the Stein case

(esp)

December 30, 2008 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holiday

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday.

(esp)

December 24, 2008 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Welcome - Research Associate to the White Collar Crime Blog

Welcome Whitney Curtis, Reference/Instructional Services Librarian of Stetson University College of Law Library, who is the new research associate for the white collar crime blog.

(esp)

November 13, 2008 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to School

The blog has been fairly quiet this summer, but today is the opening day of school - so it's back to more detailed blogging and new blog developments.  I'd like to thank those of you who stayed with the blog this summer, and to the newcomers - thanks for clicking this way.

Law profs - if you have an interest in doing an occasional guest blog - let me know.

(esp)

August 24, 2008 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

White Collar Crime Prof Blog Ranked 16th

Just a thanks to everyone who has been clicking this way.  In the recent rankings of Paul Caron over at Tax Prof Blog, the white collar crime prof blog came in as 16th in the "Top 35 blogs edited by law professors with publicly available SiteMeters for the most recent 12-month period (July 2007 - June 2008)." (see here)

(esp)

July 22, 2008 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Future of White Collar Investigative Reporting

The diminishing print media is pretty frightening. It seems like every day one opens the newspaper to find another paper laying off people, consolidating, offering buyouts, and basically cutting back.  The dismal economy coupled with decreased advertising in print has serious consequences to the dissemination of news.  Most importantly in hurting print media is the World Wide Web and the availability of news online.

Blogs like this white collar crime blog do not replace the press.  They offer transparency on some issues, and hopefully also offer explanation of the issues covered by the press. This blog also aims at providing links to the vast sources available on the distinct topic of white collar crime.  In a world of information overload, having a place to easily access materials in a particular area can hopefully be time-saving. And to the many who peruse this blog - I thank you for clicking this way as it is nice to know that the many hours of work that this takes is useful to some.

But this blog does not do something very important for people, and it is something that print media has provided - this is investigative reporting. Many a white collar case arose as a result of someone in the media culling through government documents and speaking with relevant people to find corruption, discrepancies, and criminal conduct. Likewise, it is print media that investigates and exposes government improprieties.  The small Watergates that occur throughout the world are brought to light by the hard work of investigative journalists.

With newspapers reducing personnel and the web being an insufficient substitute - at least at present - for advancing this form of reporting, it raises concerns about an important check on government.  It isn't likely that the government will be bailing out this industry, and certainly conflicts arise in even considering this option.  But one has to wonder if white collar crime prosecutions, and other prosecutions of this nature will decrease as the press will no longer be there to expose criminality that is often difficult to prove.  And more importantly, will there be an appropriate check on government conduct when print media becomes a mere skeleton.

(esp) (w/ disclosure that my partner is in print media)   

July 2, 2008 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Is Blogging Hazardous to Your Health?

Checkout this NYTimes story here. I think there is some truth to this piece, especially when it's not your full-time job.  The law prof who takes on  blogging finds him or herself glued to the computer more hours than prior to taking up blogging.  Weight gain -  yes! Loss of Sleep - yes!  But in the end,  I would have to say that blogging results in better teaching, as the material learned while blogging significantly enhances the classroom experience.

I am hitting Paul Caron at TaxProf, Dan Solove at Concurring Opinion, Dan Filler at Faculty Lounge, Ann Bartow at Feminist Law Professors, Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit, Paul Butler at BlackProf, and Doug Berman at Sentencing Law & Policy.  What do you think? 

(esp)

Professor Doug Berman - Sentencing Law & Policy - "I agree on all fronts.  I probably work more, but I also know I know more and do more.  And if I am putting myself closer to an early grave, at least I will leave a lot behind to cite..."

Joe Hodnicki - X.O Law Professors Blog  "Hazardous? Yes. Two herniated discs in my neck from toiling over a keyboard (bad posture) last year! Joe"

Professor Ann Bartow - Feminist Law Professors Blog - "I definitely spend too much time at the computer, which can't be good. Of far more concern to me, though, are the agressively nasty e-mails and (attempted) comments I receive as a result of the blog. They add a lot of stress." 

Professor Dan Fuller - Faculty Lounge - "Since law teaching is already a full-time job when you're not blogging, it's inevitable that blogging will eat into the rest of your life.  But for me, I've come to accept that it is a work-related hobby, and a great way to indulge in one of my personal love/hate passions: writing.  I agree with Ann - nasty responses are no fun.  But it only adds an incentive to write precisely, so that the nasty folk are at least responding to something I actually intended to say!"

April 6, 2008 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Link Problem on the Blog

Just wanted to notify everyone that I have been made aware that one link on the blog was hijacked.  The matter is being corrected and the blog is being examined to avoid this problem in the future.  I appreciate being notified of any problems you find.  Thanks. 

(esp)

March 26, 2008 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)